ULTIMATE NEWS

The Hype
Open
Women's
Mixed
Juniors
College

For a calendar of events, see http://www.bcdss.bc.ca/events/index.html.


THE HYPE

World Ultimate and Guts Championships (WUGC) 2008
Vancouver, Canada selected as host for 2008 WFDF World Ultimate and Guts Championships!

More than one-hundred teams from over 30 countries will gather August 2-9, 2008 in Vancouver to compete at the World Ultimate and Guts Championships. As BC Ultimate players, we know that Vancouver is a premier location to hold an international tournament - someone at the WFDF must have agreed because we beat out Cape Town, South Africa for hosting honors. Brian Gisel and his all-star organizing team will not disappoint as they plan our way to the best WUGC experience to date. All games will be held at the University of British Columbia, where participants will have easy access to affordable accommodation and all that the City of Vancouver has to offer.

Right now, the name of the game is volunteer recruitment. The event will eventually take 400+ volunteers to run the show, with people needed for everything from Field Operations and Divisional Directors to scorekeepers and water runners. If you are looking to be a part of WUGC 2008, have no fear - there is a job for you, big or small. Currently, the organizers are looking to fill the managerial-type positions. If you are interested in a larger role in bringing World Ultimate to life in Vancouver, please check out the website http://www.wugc2008.com and fill out an application.


World Ultimate Club Championships (WUCC) 2006 - Perth, Australia
Due to the incredible success of BC teams last season, there are local teams in every division eligible to compete World Ultimate Club Championships 2006 in Perth, Australia on November 11-18, 2006 (www.wucc2006.org).

Traveling internationally to represent one's country is an experience an athlete will remember for a lifetime. Aside from the adventure of traveling abroad, the competition itself is incredible. Opponents run plays in foreign languages, use strange offenses and bring character to the field that is distinctly different than anything North American. The benefits of attending such tournaments are felt for years afterwards in hometown leagues as these athletes bring home valuable knowledge and experience.

Here is the latest speculation of which BC and Canadian teams will make the trip to represent our province and nation on the world stage.

Open: There are four bids for Canadian Open teams and these bids should be offered first to the Victoria Nomads, Toronto's Goat and Ottawa's Phoenix (top three finishers at CUC 2005). Apparently Vancouver's Furious George was also offered a bid, however it is unlikely that Furious will take a team to Perth as the tournament will be held so shortly after UPA championships. The Nomads have not ruled out the trip. Mephisto from Montreal, fourth at CUC, would be the next team in line should any team decline their spot. The CUPA website has Calgary's 12 Gauge (6th) and Toronto's Too Bad (10th) next.

Womens: The women have three bids at WUCC 2006. The spots were originally offered to the top three finishers at CUC 2005: Stella (Ottawa), Lotus (Toronto) and Roughriders (BC). The Roughriders, looking for international experience, will send a team to Perth. The eastern teams have both turned down their bids, wanting instead to focus on American Nationals. The West definitely benefits here as next in line is Cream (Edmonton), who may join forces with FLO (Calgary) to form what would be quite a strong showing.

Mixed: There are five bids for Canadian co-ed teams, and so far it looks like both BC teams Team Fisher Price (CUC Champs) and Joyride (CUC bridesmaids) will be attending. The 3 through 5 spots will go to third place Camelot (Montreal), Bombing Madd Fatties (Toronto) and Dischord (Quebec). Judging by the pre-registration page on the WUCC 2006 website there will be no shortage of mixed teams to go to Perth.

Masters: Three Canadian teams of grisly masters men will make the trip to Perth including our own National Champs - Grind. The other two bids should go to Winnipeg and Calgary. If WUGC 2004 Finland was any indication, Masters promises to be the most entertaining division to watch with intense match-ups between the Canadians and the Americans.

Juniors: Canadian juniors will be playing at World Juniors in Devens, Mass. on August 13-18, 2006. At this tournament, juniors split to form separate girls and boys teams. At the last world juniors in Latvia (2002), Canadian girls and boys teams both won gold. There was some talk of changing Canadian Junior Ultimate Championships (August 17-20) to another date in order not to conflict with Worlds. But the decision was made to keep the juniors tournament together with the rest of the divisions. So unfortunately, National Team members will have to miss Canadian Ultimate Championships in Halifax in order to compete in Devens. The bright side here is, with the likely high number of players from BC on the National Team, more BC juniors will end up experiencing national and international level competition.


OPEN
Meet the Georgie Boys
Vancouver's Open team Furious George has won a third Ultimate Players Association (UPA) Championship title, a feat accomplished by only three other open teams in the 25 year history of the tournament. The UPA Championship, a series format tournament with Sectionals, Regionals and Nationals, is considered the premier Ultimate event in the world, surpassing even World Ultimate and Guts Championship (WUGC) as a metric for measuring a team's worth.

The road to winning The Cup in Sarasota Florida a third time was anything but smooth for Furious. A large number of high-profile veterans decided to put the cleats away for a season, but luckily Furious had planned for such a moment.

Most Furious team members have coached young Frisbee players in BC at some point. A number of high school teams have had Furious coaches, and UBC varsity has always had Furious involvement - to the point where the Thunderbirds (men and women) run Furious-inspired offenses and defenses exclusively.

So at a moment when the team could have faded into history, in came nine new players, Morgan Hibbert, Nick Menzies, Shawn O'Brien, Alex Hughes, Sam Schroeder, Shawn Delfel, Jeff Bell, Owen Blaine and Neil Terry. These players are mainly guys in their early 20s (with one silver-haired smooth-talking exception) who came up through high school and college programs to change the pace for a team that needed a makeover.

At first, Furious struggled to adapt to the large influx of new players as they racked up substandard tournament finishes throughout the season. Predictions right up to UPA Regionals had Furious barely squeaking into semi-finals at Nationals. The turn around in the team's fate began at Regionals where they upset both Seattle's Sockeye (favored to win it all) and San Fransico's Jam. The new players needed to play a significant role throughout the UPA series and they proved to be up to task. It is a testament to the skill and wisdom of the veterans and the determination and talent of the rookies that the group was able to come together as a team and win a huge title.

SPIN interviewed three of the Furious young guys who also play with UBC, to get their thoughts on their past season with Furious and the upcoming college season.

Shawn Obrien has been playing ultimate since he joined a BC all-star juniors team in 1997. He is a two-time Canadian University Ultimate Champion and he has been coaching the Kilarney Secondary team for 4 years. He now manages the UBC mens team.

Nick Menzies converted from Rugby in 2002, and has played for Idle Hands, Vancouver's Empire and UBC.

Oscar Pottinger is a 4-year veteran on Furious and captain of the UBC mens team. At 24, Oscar is one of Vancouver's most decorated players as a member of the junior men's team that won gold in Latvia, a three time UPA cup winner and a one time World Champion with Furious. He has also won National Championship titles in both junior and open.

Special thanks to these guys for coming out and answering our questions, and a huge thanks to Dave Jez for taking such great pictures of the interview. Here's what the guys had to say:

Some of the older guys on Furious (like Al Bob, Drew and Jeff) are some pretty intense guys, they can probably be tough to play with sometimes. Were you ever intimidated by them?

Shawn: They can be intimidating, but that can be a good thing - made us even better. They weren't there to argue or put us down; they were there to improve us. If we made a mistake, they would pull us aside after and say good job, good effort but maybe try it this way next time.

Oscar:They would come out and help us with UBC a lot, so we had a lot of exposure to them. We mainly just respect what they do and how they do it.

Nick:Uh, I'm intimidated by Jeff Cruickshank. It's really funny, the stuff he says to hecklers completely straight faced - he's a tough guy to burn.

Oscar, after playing with the guys on UBC, you watched as they joined Furious. How much did they improve and were you surprised with how fast the team improved over the year?

Oscar: A lot of the older guys on Furious were pretty worried at the beginning of the year. At Flowerbowl, we had a pretty bad team - we got killed and I thought "Wow, this is going to be hard". Some of the guys, like Nick and Alex, were excellent athletes but inexperienced ultimate players. In the end, those guys worked out well because they really knew their roles and they did what they had to do. Maybe they wouldn't touch the disc all that much on offense but they would come up with a big D at crucial times.

The big game, the finals at UPA Nationals, can be very stressful. How do you think the rookies played in that game?

Oscar: They totally stepped up. There were guys making big plays, Neil, Owen, Sam, Nick, Alex - everybody was just making huge plays. Unexpected ones too. Neil got a huge D during the 14-13 point in our quarter finals against Sub-Zero. We were pulling to save ourselves and we had these rookies on the line.

Who gets rookie of the year?

Shawn: I would put Neil up there. Neil, Owen or Sam…everyone had their moments. Everyone contributed in different ways so it's hard to pinpoint one person.

Nick: I would say Neil. He is a big game player. He is so quiet and that's the Neil most people know - a quiet player. It's almost frustrating playing with him in less important games, because you wouldn't notice him at all. But when it counts, he steps up and changes the game.

What's the word on retirement for the veteran players? What will the team look like next year?

Shawn: After we won down there, a couple of the older guys were talking like it was a good way to go out but I think a lot of the guys got re-energized with all the new guys on the team.

Oscar: Even if there is a big retirement next year, the team will still be competitive because there were so many new guys on the team this year. There were nine new guys who improved so much over the year.

Shawn: What really helped the team is that a lot of these new guys had already played together for 2 or 3 years before now. It wasn't just like throwing 9 players together who had to learn new systems.

Oscar: Yeah, what's nice about Vancouver Ultimate is that it's basically all Furious-run. Even the high school kids are running Furious offences and defenses. They even call plays by the same names as Furious does.

Which players from UBC do you think will come up and play for Furious next year?

Oscar: Raphel Imerman.

Nick: Ollie

Speaking of UBC, what happened at UPA College Nationals last year?
(UBC men went into the tournament ranked 5th and were expected to do well. They lost in the pre-quarters to University of Washington. It was the first time UBC men had ever qualified for College Nationals.)

Nick: We definite had the team skill-wise, we could have won. But we were stupid, we were cocky. We didn't play hard enough against weaker teams, which meant we didn't come out hard enough against good teams. We accepted trading points with teams that weren't as good.

Oscar: We talked a lot about not having someone to tell us what we were doing wrong, strategically - like a coach would. There were things we could have changed strategically that would have helped us.

Oscar, what's your favorite championship win?

Oscar: This UPA championship was the best because it was so unexpected, no one in the ultimate community expected us to win. Before Regionals, we were predicted to finish 8th or 9th. Everyone thought that the old guys were too old and the young guys were too young.


WOMEN'S
Stoking the blaze: Women's Ultimate in the Okanagan Valley

People have babies, surgeries, move to other cities or countries claiming they're "retiring" from Ultimate to try new sports or to watch a lot of television. Yet you see them again, two or three years later, back at the same tournaments: slower, perhaps, and running outdated offences, but still playing, still hooked.

I made the same claims when I moved from Vancouver to Kelowna more than five years ago.

At that time, Kelowna and Vernon only had pick-up Ultimate played by a clutch of talented die-hards, some of whom played barefoot. Since then, Kelowna and other cities and towns in the Okanagan Valley have undergone a veritable renaissance in disc sports--Kelowna and Vernon both have their own Ultimate leagues, with Kelowna actually boasting a two-tiered league for the 2005 summer and fall seasons. Vernon's wildly popular annual co-ed tournament celebrated its ninth year, while both Penticton and Kelowna hosted expertly run tournaments for the second year in a row. Disc golf courses have also opened--with the cities' blessings--in both Kelowna and Vernon.

The momentum to form a women's Ultimate team in the Okanagan came in part from a (selfish) desire to experience again the unique camaraderie of an all-women's squad. An even more important reason is that women, anywhere, who show up at a pick-up Ultimate games for the first time are typically discouraged. No one will throw to them, let alone teach them how to throw. The problem is amplified in smaller communities where the people who play Ultimate tend to form their own tight-knit clique, inevitably and unintentionally deterring newcomers, especially women. Who knows how many great athletes and potential stars were put off Ultimate from the get-go in Kelowna or Vernon just because of a bad experience at their first and last disorganized pick-up game?

The first attempt to form an Okanagan Women's team in 2002--the Okanagan Red Delish--foundered in its first few months after a brutal obliteration at Flower Bowl. Despite a core of decent players and a lot of heart, the team simply did not have enough skill to stay together and stay motivated. By 2004, however, a handful of players had moved to the Okanagan from Ontario, ramping up the quality of the whole valley Ultimate scene generally, and specifically creating a core of female talent and renewed interest in a women's team. Nicole Shortt, who had played with Toronto's Urge, was persuaded to sign-on as co-captain and a new women's team took flight. The "risen from the ashes" theme was unconsciously incorporated in the new name, Okanagan Bushfire, a tongue-in-cheek nod to the Okanagan Park wildfires of 2003: the smoke from that fire had all but choked out any Ultimate in the valley for most of the summer.

In 2004, Bushfire proved its mettle and surprised its competition in the non-elite women's division at Flower Bowl by placing fifth out of ten teams. None of the losses were an easy trounce for our competition. When a spot opened for a third team at Nationals in Vancouver, the Okanagan women's team was there. This was the first time that a BC women's team from anywhere other than Vancouver or Victoria had played at Nationals--an incredible feat given that, for many of the team's players, this was only their second tournament ever. We finished tenth out of 12 teams--a proud finish for such a new squad, particularly since several players were sidelined by serious injuries during the tournament.

Not to be outdone, men in the Okanagan led by zealous and talented North Bay export, Andy Collins, also practiced hard and played harder at Flower Bowl in 2004. The overall effect has been a radical improvement among both male and female players in the Okanagan over the past few years.

In 2005 Bushfire practiced together until Flower Bowl, learning more perhaps from this tournament--where the Elite Women's and Women's divisions were collapsed into one--than from all previous practices combined. At home in the valley, we hosted skills clinics for new women players, and co-hosted a co-ed clinic with the Okanagan men's team. Our decision to not compete at BC regionals for one of the two 2005 Nationals spots arose partly from early burnout and partly from a need to commit more time to the burgeoning recreational and competitive co-ed leagues in the valley. What better way to scope out new female talent for 2006? The Bushfire women spent the rest of the Ultimate season--always a long and dry one in the Okanagan--playing key roles on their respective co-ed league and touring teams.

Who knows what the future holds? Already the buzz has been growing for 2006, but then, so have the baby-filled bellies of an increasing number of our members... Whether we make it to Nationals again next year, or in five years, Bushfire has already kindled a transformation in women's Ultimate in the Okanagan. Those of us here who keep talking about retirement will no doubt keep limping out to practice until Bushfire is truly a roaring blaze and we can finally, decisively, pass along the torch to someone else.

Shelley Wood

Links:
http://www.kelownaultimate.com/
http://www.vernonultimateclub.com/


MIXED

Pumpkin Pull 2005
With this year's Pull being our 13th annual event we were sure to be in for a spooky run to the finals. 26 teams rounded out the line up with teams hailing from as far south as Portland, as far North as Alaska (two teams!) and as far east as Calgary. This is one tournament many are sure not to miss! In fact, the strong majority of teams at this year's Pull were multi-year returnees.

Many Spin readers will already be familiar with Pumpkin Pull but for those that are not let me simply say that this tournament defines Victoria Ultimate. Party hard, play harder.

As with every year teams were invited to attend the annual Friday night pumpkin carving party at which the revellers would carve, gut, gore and otherwise distinguish pumpkins for use as markers through-out the tournament. Beer was provided in the form of kegs donated from our friends at Lighthouse Brewery to keep the carving creative.

Saturday games started exactly on schedule, at least according to Island Time! Perhaps too much time was taken in handing out the "treats" that are so integral to the Pumpkin Pull experience. None-the-less Saturday had plenty of action with each team playing 5 games with no byes. For the most part Saturday's teams played to their ranking, though there were some notable exceptions. Whistler was a real surprise, though I should have know better. Who would have thought a team from Whistler looking for pick-ups would be able to find such incredibly athletic players? Likewise the local tides might have shifted as the kids from Big Playahs took down the vets from from The Hosers to steal their seed.
Heading into the Saturday party the top 8 looked strong. Representing were teams from Alaska, Calgary, Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle. This did not deter any of the teams from partying hard on Saturday with representatives from all 8 top teams helping close down the bar at the end of the evening and many of them finding their way back to the after party too. Saturday's party was a great mix of free beer tickets, a slide show from the day's action and confusing costumes, quite possibly the most confusing being a couple of hooligans dressed in sheets claiming to be rhinos but looking more like hotel fugitives with stolen bed sheets.
With weather always a concern this late in the season we had been doing well up until Sunday morning. All day Saturday was bright sunshine. Sunday's fog was not confined to the post party hangover but extended to the fields as a light misty rain. Luckily the rain never really opened up and the fields were left firm but slippery while the players were able to stay warm and loose. The quarter final match-ups were all excellent games with the Vancouver kids (Big Playahs), Alaska, Victoria and Vancouver all advancing to the semis. While the old rivals of Victoria and Vancouver faced off once more the never before seen match-up of the young Vancouver crew took on the savvy vets from Alaska. Victoria's Cartel took down the Vancouver squad captained by Sandy Fleisher in an excellent game punctuated by many good laughs and great plays. On the other field Alaska managed to pull off a one point victory in spite of an incredible late game run by the kids.

This year's final was held in the Royal Athletic Park Stadium which is arguably the best outdoor stadium in town. The lights were on and the tension palpable as the defending champions Cartel took the field to warm up and waited for their competition to arrive. Soon honks and scooter motors could be heard, the "Fat Cat's" from Alaska had arrived. At this point though many of the spectators were much more interested in the wide array of products on display at the Snap Discs' booth than watching either team warm up. Once the game was underway though they would all return to watch as destiny unfolded.
Cartel started strong and never looked back. Solid underneath play was their mantra but it was obvious they were willing to strike long if too tightly guarded short. The game jumped to an immediate 6-1 lead in favour of Cartel but soon the Cats were able to compensate and found a couple of players in the end zone. Cartel's commanding lead was not to be eroded though and they easily maintained for a decisive victory 13-6.
Many thanks to everyone involved in making Pumpkin Pull 2005 so solid. This particularly extends to the players themselves who sacrificed so much to make it back to the Island and to participate in the Pull. Pumpkin Pull 2006 is already being planned and eagerly anticipated and bids for spots will be accepted starting at the end of August. Thank-you as well to Lighthouse Brewery and Snap Discs for their support and commitment to disc sports on the Island.

John Zimmerman (co-director Pumpkin Pull 2005).

JUNIORS

Vertically Challenged (or the FlowerBowl kids)
Ever wonder where those super kids who played at the halftime of Flowerbowl finals last year learned to play? Wonder if your elementary school-aged kids could start learning Ultimate too? Carla Keffer has created something really special by starting Vertically Challenged, a team of grade 4 kids. Here is what she had to say about her team:

We started two summers ago with a week-long clinic run by women's touring players Michelle Ng (Roughriders) and Chloe Beck (Hussy). I did another clinic myself the following Spring Break and chose a 'core' of kids from that to practice with in hopes of having them ready to do a little demo at Flower Bowl. And boy! did they do me proud!! I was so excited by their FB display, and they were so fired up from the experience that they didn't want to stop practicing. Their parents were so impressed by what they saw at FB and by the support of the Ultimate crowd - most of them seeing Ultimate for the first time - that they were dedicated to keeping their kids involved in this new, exciting sport.

I took that core of kids to a Furious clinic where they were thrilled to be instructed by the guys and treated just like all the other (much older) juniors there - the highlight was playing a point against the Furious guys in the scrimmage at the end.

Knowing we needed more bodies for our team (we still only had enough to play 4 on 4) we ran a terrific summer clinic headed by Spud and Gregar and introduced Ultimate to a bunch more kids. This helped to bump our practice roster up to about 14.

We practiced throughout the summer and ended our season with a great clinic run by Chloe - back by popular demand! And that's where it ends, unfortunately. With no tournaments to attend in the Fall, we had nothing to really end our season with. It seems like the 'elementary' season is in the Spring.

So we are gearing up for a clinic at Spring Break - Dr. Alex Rosenswig has kindly offered us his services - and we intend to enter whatever tournaments we can find, either here or in the States (within a couple of hours that is!) in the Spring. We've even made contact with a team from Canmore that we may 'meet in the middle' for a little vacation Ultimate.

We are a North Shore team, our clinics and practices are held here, but we are open to all players willing to make the drive!!

The age range of our team is between 8 and 11 yrs. Although we welcome new players, it sure helps the new kids if they can already throw (at least backhand) and catch and have played some kind of organized team sport. We try to get enough kids at the clinics to divide them into experienced and beginners for drills, as we want to keep challenging our 'core' while developing new players. Then everyone scrimmages together in the end.

If there is anyone out there with an elementary school team that would like to play, we'll arrange the field or come to them - whatever!! Vertically Challenged has never played against anyone but themselves and they're dying to play as a team with 7 on the line!!


National Team News
Jillian Maguire and Geoff Urton of BC were selected to coach the National junior womens team at World Juniors in Devens, Massachusetts on August 13th - 19th, 2006. The junior mens team will be coached by Colin Yeung (MB) and Ghislain Levesque (QC). Congrats to all.

According to CUPA website, 42 male players and 26 female players have already applied and as of the last posting on the CUPA website, registration is still open. Players selected to the team will be informed by Sunday March 31, 2006, if not earlier. There is still talk of official selection camps, but dates are still being discussed. If you are a junior player interested in being on the National Team, get your application asap! Email geoff.urton@gmail.com. For more information on the worlds tournament see http://www.wjuc2006.org/.


COLLEGE

Vancouver fans will have the pleasure of watching our college hopefuls battle it out to qualify to UPA College Nationals before our eyes. UPA College Regionals will be held at UBC on April 29 and 30.


SFU
Up on the hill Ultimate is flourishing. The SFU CLAM Ultimate Club has enjoyed a good year of growth. Providing opportunities for both recreational and competitive play, the CLAM is in the process of firming up competitive rosters for the upcoming spring season. Both the Open and Women's teams are looking forward to tournaments up and down the coast, as well as the UPA series in April and May.

Having lost several veterans to graduation (you guys sure you don't have one more course to pick up?) both the Open and Women's teams are sporting many fresh faces, and though they're still a little rough around the edges, both teams expect to smooth out the bumps, and put together very successful seasons.

For any club information, please see www.sfuclam.org.


UVic
UVictim and Wild Child (open and womens teams) will be traveling to tournaments in the spring, likely to PLU BBQ in Tacoma and/or Dirty Deeds in Bellingham. Recently UVic has had a bit of trouble with numbers which is such a shame. Once a powerhouse varsity program, UVic has produced some of the most successful players in Canada. If you are enrolled at UVic and are interested in playing some quality ultimate, please contact Colin Clauset at cclauset@uvic.ca.


UBC
UBC TBirds (open and womens) have hit their first tournament of the season - Trouble in Vegas, a huge tournament held February 11/12 with 64 mens teams and 32 womens teams attending. Both teams made it to the semi-finals, finishing 4th overall. This was a great finish for the women, who beat the No. 2 and 3 seeds at the tournament before falling to Colorado. For the men, a 4th finish is pretty good too, but there are some high expectations for this team with 5 players who just finished winning it all in the Big Leagues with Furious. The men were put out in the semis by Florida, losing also to Texas and Carleton along the way. To their credit, they did put out last years College National Finalists, Colorado, in the quarters. Both teams will head to the Stanford Invitational March 4 and 5. Go TBirds!